Presented by Rylie Green, PhD, Professor, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London
Abstract: Over the past 30 years bionic devices such as cochlear implants and pacemakers, have used a small number of metal electrodes to restore function and monitor activity in patients following disease or injury of excitable tissues. Growing interest in neurotechnologies, facilitated by ventures such as BrainGate, Neuralink and the European Human Brain Project, has increased public awareness of electrotherapeutics and led to both new applications for bioelectronics and a growing demand for less invasive devices with improved performance. Coupled with the rapid miniaturisation of electronic chips, bionic devices are now being developed to diagnose and treat a wide variety of neural and muscular disorders. Of particular interest is the area of high resolution devices that require smaller, more densely packed electrodes. Due to poor integration and communication with body tissue, conventional metallic electrodes cannot meet these size and spatial requirements.
We have developed a range of polymer based electronic materials including conductive hydrogels (CHs), conductive elastomers (CEs) and living electrodes (LEs). These technologies provide synergy between low impedance charge transfer, reduced stiffness and an ability to be provide a biologically active interface. A range of electrode approaches are presented spanning wearables, implantables and drug delivery devices. This talk outlines the materials development and characterisation of both in vitro properties and translational in vivo performance. The challenges for translation and commercial uptake of novel technologies will also be discussed.